Williamson asks STRB to advise on ‘flatter’ teacher pay progression

Gavin Williamson Covid schools

The body in charge of teacher pay has been asked to advise the government on how a new “flatter” pay progression model might work, after ministers pledged to raise starting salaries to £30,000 within three years.

The School Teachers’ Review Body has also been asked to consider whether separate main and upper pay ranges are still needed.

In his remit letter to the body for 2020, education secretary Gavin Williamson has asked it to provide “additional advice to schools on the pay progression pathway for classroom teachers”, including advisory pay points on the main and upper pay ranges.

It follows a pledge by the government to increase starting salaries for teachers outside London to £30,000 by September 2022. Sources said at the time this would result in a “flatter” rise in pay for early year teachers – as their starting salary would be much higher.

Williamson’s letter appears to confirm that, pointing to a “strong case for schools to move towards a relatively flatter pay progression structure than is currently typical, alongside significantly higher starting and early career salaries”.

Unusually, the letter does not include the education secretary’s view on how large a pay rise would be affordable for schools in 2020-21, simply setting out that the STRB “will want to ensure they are affordable within the funding settlement announced”.

This implies the STRB’s ability to recommend pay rises will not be limited as it has been in recent years, however, it will still fall to the government to approve the final rise.

Williamson said he wants an “assessment of the adjustments that should be made to the salary and allowance ranges for classroom teachers, unqualified teachers and school leaders to promote recruitment and retention”.

This should be “within the bounds of affordability across the school system as a whole and in the light of my views on the need for an uplift to starting salaries”.

He also wants the STRB’s view “on the role of progression to the upper pay range and the continued case for separate main and upper pay ranges”.

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